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Why You Should Visit Serbia

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Serbia is located in the continent of Europe. If you are travelling from London, a direct flight to Belgrade would take you 2 hours and 20 minutes. And if you are coming from Washington DC, the nonstop flight would take around 9 hours and 50 minutes.

Covering 87,460 Km2 of land, Serbia is the 118th largest country in terms of land area. And by population, Serbia is at 97 in the world with 8,759,317 people. Its capital alone, Belgrade, has over 1.2 million residents.

Weather

Serbia’s weather is considered as a warm-humid continental or humid subtropical. The climate in the northern part is classified as continental, as it has cold winters, and hot, humid summers. On the southern part of the country, winters are pretty cold with temperatures around 0 °C or 32 °F. And during summer, which is relatively drier, the temperature goes 30 °C or 86 °F.

When to go:

The best times of the year to visit Siberia is during the months of June to August. These are the times of festivals, get-togethers, nature, and beach tripping. Mountains are beautiful in summer, and if you are into nature tripping, these months are the ideal time to go.

The famous Exit Festival, and the Dragačevo Trumpet Festival in Guča are famous festivals that happen during summer. Both are frequented by tourists and locals alike, with over half a million people from all over the world. Something that anyone should not miss.

Famous and emblematic elements:

Slivovitza – Slivovitza is a national brand of brandy in Siberia. Brandy, or rakija, is usually made by families across Siberia. Homemade and authentic, this very strong spirit containing more than 40% of alcohol, is famous because of its strength that’s why a lot of visitors are curious to try out a shot of Siberian’s national drink.

Paprika – The word paprika originated from the word “papar” which is a Serbian black pepper. And we all know that paprika is used all over the world. Paprika in Serbia is the fresh vegetable pepper, while in other parts of the world, it is the red powdered chili pepper spice.

Pirot Kilim – Siberia is also popular for their Pirot Kilim, or weaved rugs. The Siberian tradition of rug weaving dates back ever since the Middle Ages. And the city of Pirot is one of the most popular places where you can get a weaved rug.

Exit Festival – Exit Festival is a popular music festival in Siberia. Over half a million of tourists visit Siberia to attend this festival annually. This is a celebration of music and its various genres like hip-hop, rock, alternative and many more. Originally, the Exit, founded in 2000, is a student initiated movement which aimed to fight for democracy and freedom in Serbia and the Balkans.

Slava – Slava, or “celebration”, is a tradition in Serbian Orthodox Christian. It is an annual celebration where the whole family come together in the house of the patriarch to glorify their patron saint. In November 2014, Slava was added in UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.

There are a lot of other enthralling things in Serbia, but we need to continue.

Where to go

Belgrade

Belgrade is the capital of Serbia and the most populated area in the country. Belgrade is considered to be a beautiful destination rich in arts, history, and culture. There are lot of great places to visit within the city that are perfect if you are longing for memorable experiences and social media worthy pictures!

Church of Saint Sava. The Church of the Saint Sava is one of the destinations flocked by most tourists visiting Serbia. It is one of the largest churches in the world. Located in Vracar plateau, the church was built as a dedication to the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Saint Sava.

National Assembly. If you are looking to know more about the history of Serbia, the National Assembly is the place to go to. This is the place where the history of Serbia was written. It is the main location where important decisions for Serbia, Belgrade, and the people are made. If you want to be part of Serbia’s modern history, pay this beautiful building a visit.

Belgrade’s Museum of Contemporary Art. The Museum of Contemporary Art has just reopened last October 20, 2017 after going through a major reconstruction. It houses works in contemporary art featuring the arts of Yugoslavia and Serbia. If you would like to awed by one of the city’s modern architecture, then the museum is definitely worth visiting.

Republic Square. The Republic Square or the Square of the Republic is the central town and the main assembly point for visitors and locals alike. It is also the home of the Knez Mihailo monument, the Army House, National Museum, National Theater, and other cultural establishments. The area also offers fast food and pizza stands, so you’ll never starve while you tour around the Republic Square.

The Belgrade Fortress. If you decide to visit the Belgrade Fortress, make sure to allocate a couple of hours for you to fully enjoy the enormous site. It is the home of the Victor of Kalemegdan monument, known as the city’s most historic landmark, and the Kalemegdan Towers, which is a popular spot among tourists.

Belgrade Clubs. If you want to have an amazing night and the best nightlife of your life, then the Belgrade Clubs is the destination you would not like to miss. According to most tourists, the clubs are Belgrade’s biggest attraction. The Dragstor Play (electro-house music), Hua Hua (National Live music), and Don’t Miss Hot Mess Club are just a few of the party clubs you can visit.

Skadarlija Street. The Skadarlija Street is known to be the Bohemaian quarter of Belgrade. Behind the Belgrade Fortress, the Skadarlija Street is the second most visited attraction by tourists.

Novi Sad

Behind Belgrade, Novi Sad is the second most populated city in Serbia. It is the capital of the autonomous region of Vojvodina in Northern Serbia. Novi Sad is popular for its unique and rich culture.

Dunavksa Street. The Dunavska Street in Novi Sad is famous for its romantic façade, rustic street lights, and colorful decorations. Located in the center of the city, the street is nestled between Zmaj Jovina Street and Belgrade Quay or the Danube. If you want to add that romantic vibe in your trip, then this fairytale-like street is the perfect place to bring your special someone to.

Petrovaradin Fortress. The Petrovaradin Fortress is where the famous Exit Festival is held each year. They said that it is best to do a walking tour when you visit this place, so you can fully appreciate the beauty and history of the Petrovaradin Fortress.

Fruska Gora National Park. Declared as a national park in 1960 and referred to as the Jewel of Serbia, Fruska Gora offers nature, landscapes, and beautiful countryside. This scenic mountain is located in North Srem and definitely a destination you would not want to skip visiting.

The beauty of Serbia can’t be concluded just by these two cities. They are just a glimpse of the splendor of the country.

Transport

In Serbia, the top and cheapest option to move from one destination to another is the bus. Daily buses from Belgrade and Novi Sad are available to move within and between towns and villages. Ticket reservations is possible depending on the bus station. For some routes, you can acquire tickets through getbybus.com. Other places to buy tickets is through ticket offices or on the bus itself.

You will also need to have the “Bus Plus” card. You can purchase the card for 250RSD from any kiosks located around the city, and tell the teller how much you would like to load it with. There are also paper cards, cost around 40RSD.

When you board the bus, you have to tap the card against the reader to verify your ride payment. They follow a “pay-as-you-go” system.

Trams and trolleybuses are also available as mode of transport. Unbelievably, riding taxis in Serbia is cheaper compared to most Western cities. But stay away from taking a taxi from the taxi stands especially in major tourist sites. There is a chance that they charge higher than usual. Hailing a passing taxi is a better alternative.

Transportation in Serbia does not have the most updated systems but it has vastly improved over the years. That being said, you can be assured that it can, and always, get the job done.

Food

Serbian food is a fusion of oriental, central European, and local Balkan cuisines. Given all the influences, you can expect awesome and tasty assortment of meals.

Some curious things:

Serbians are heavy fast-food eaters. They go for grilled items for lunch, and pastry for other meals.

Heavy, calorie-rich food items are always on Serbian menu. Meat, pastry, and vegetables are mainstays in Serbian cuisines.

Ćevapi, or Cevapcici, is one of the most typical Serbian food. There may be a lot of versions of the dish, but actually, cevapi is grilled dish of minced meat. They normally serve it in a flatbread, or also known as lepinja or somun, with chopped onions on the side and Kajmak. Kajmak is another traditional dish in Serbia.

Even during breakfast, Siberians serve a chock-full of meat and potatoes.

There are other food items Serbia is popular for: Kajmak, Karađorđeva šnicla, Sarma or cabbage rolls, Serbian Musaka, Ajvar, among others. These food items are either meat or vegetables – which are the two most common ingredients in Serbian cuisines.

Money

The currency in Siberia is Siberian Dinar. One American dollar is equivalent to 102.06 Serbian Dinar. Most tourists say that Serbia one of the most inexpensive destinations than other Western countries.

How much will a trip to Serbia cost?

On a low-budget plan, adding the transport, less expensive accommodation, and average amount of food splurging, you can experience the best of Serbia with $400-450.

If you want to save a little money on the trip, look at some tips:

Best option for transportation in Serbia is by bus. You wouldn’t be spending more than $12 for a ride. The prices from other cities and towns play around this range.

Hostels and dorms are cheap options for places to stay in Serbia. But you can consider couch surfing and going for Airbnb to save more in accommodation cost.

Most of the trips, like the best places to visit are free. So you just need to plan your trip well, so you can take advantage of this perk.

Travel like a local. For best advices on how to save, don’t hesitate to ask a local as to where they go.

Some general tips:

Although Serbia is visited by a lot of tourists, transactions within the country mostly rely on cash. Credit cards are accepted in big restaurants and some other merchants, it is best to always bring enough cash.

Serbians speak and understand English very well, especially in bigger cities. So don’t be afraid to talk to the locals.

Serbia telecommunication companies offer various mobile and internet options. If you are unable to activate your roaming services, you can choose among Telenor, TS, and VIP for communication services. And Orion for the internet.

Do not do this in Serbia:

Do not talk about the war. It is inappropriate to make this a topic for discussion. You could just imagine the unbearable amount of trauma the war left the Siberians. If a local brought it up, just listen, but do not comment.

In a similar way as mentioning wars, refrain from mentioning the word “Kosovo”. You don’t want to get into an intense debate with a local regarding this.

Don’t forget to say “cheers” and make a toast. It is a Siberian etiquette to say “cheers” before draining down a shot.

Do not forget to take your shoes off when you enter someone else’s home. In Siberia, it is rude to enter a home with dirty shoes. You can leave them by the door.

Do not say anything negative about Novak Djokovic. In some cities in Siberia, Novak is considered a hero. You might end up in a fight if you do.

Unusual things in Siberia:

Siberians believe that sitting on the corner of a table will bring you bad luck and you may end up being alone forever.

If you are in a hot establishment and locals refuse to open the windows, it is most likely because they think that it might invite the dreaded promaja, also known as draft, to enter. Promajas are believed to cause illnesses or even death.

Siberians believe that leaving your purse or bag on the floor might cause you to lose all of your money and end up poor.

As being part of Russia, the no smoking ban also applies in Siberia.

With all these being said, it is just fitting to add Siberia to your bucket list. It is definitely worth visiting, given the rich culture and history, the scrumptious food, and the great people.

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